Our students come to us because they want help on how to better position their real estate investment businesses. As deal finders and home buyers we want to position ourselves as the trusted expert in our area, as the go-to local authority. How can we do that?
These days, most of our motivated sellers engage with us via our online presence before they ever pick up the phone and call us.
For this reason, many investors are spending more and more time trying to get reviews and testimonials. This is smart business and an activity with a huge return on time investment (ROTI). More than ever, potential clients are turning to the internet to look up any professional they are considering, real estate or otherwise. With this in mind, we need to make sure our websites, social media pages, and search engine listings are accurate and paint a positive picture of ourselves and our businesses.
The fact is online reviews are a major credibility factor for any individual or business. The data show that online reviews significantly influence the decisions made by consumers who are debating whether or not to purchase a product or service or hire a professional of any kind.
Real estate is a tricky business. The individuals and families that we are working with are often in a lot of emotional and financial pain, occasionally even physical pain depending on the health situation. We know that we are there to help them, but sometimes it can be difficult for homeowners to discern who is actually looking out for their best interest and who is purely opportunistic and selfish. This can make it difficult to get good reviews, because people are wary of promoting someone who might not live up to their expectations down the line.
Worse, one bad review can be devastating to a business.
So what can we do as business owners and house buyers to change this mindset of fear and reticence? We have found three strategies that have moved the needle in terms of collecting more, and more effective, reviews and testimonials.
Number one is timing. I used to fall into the classic trap of asking for reviews too late. I followed the formula of asking after the deal was already in the past – sending emails or texts with messages like, “Thanks for choosing to work with me. I’d appreciate it if you could send me a review.”
What do you think the response was? Radio silence, mostly. Occasionally I would get a half-hearted, “Yes, sure thing, I’ll get to it next week.” Then the radio silence.
This was confusing, and frankly demoralizing, because at the closing sellers would say, “Oh yeah. When I get home tonight, I'll give you a great review. You were awesome.” Then, everyone leaves the title company and suddenly they cannot seem to remember your name. Max who? You know, the guy who buys houses. Him. Yeah.
But we have learned that timing is the biggest lever and now we ask for reviews when we get the contract.
Asking at the right time does not guarantee success… so what is secret number two? Pre-framing the review. While we are still there at the house we say, “Okay, how are you feeling about how everything is going?” Generally, the response is positive. “I feel good. You are informative and helpful. You put my mind at ease.”
Notice we have not said the words “review” or testimonial” yet. We are not fishing for endorsements; we are asking about the person. How they are feeling. What they are thinking. If we do this correctly, we set ourselves up for a guaranteed endorsement.
NOW is the time to act. “Great,” we say, “would you mind sharing that with other people? Can we record a brief video of you saying just that and share it on our website and social media pages?”
This brings us to number three: making it as easy as possible for people to leave the review. The motivated seller says yes, we take out our phones, record the video, and can have it posted within minutes.
Alternatively, for those not comfortable going on camera, we have QR code that goes straight to our Google review page that we always have accessible. People can take a picture of it, bring the review page up on their phone, then type up a quick review and post it immediately.
The way we ensure success here is by making sure it gets done before we leave the property and that we pre-fame the request. We get them to say that they had a positive experience BEFORE asking for the review. Then they have no reason to say no when we ask. We make it easy and straightforward.
Why is this mission critical? Because motivated sellers in the research stage are asking, “Is this person honest and trustworthy and does what they say?” But they are not asking their network directly, face-to-face, not anymore. They are checking online.
There are countless options out there to build your online presence. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), consistent social media presence, and third-party review platforms. You can use video or audio testimonial, text testimonials (paired with a photo as often as possible), and even business-to-business endorsements. Whatever route(s) you choose, just remember the three most important factors in systemizing and increasing your testimonials:
3. Easy Button
Find the strategy that works for you and get started today. The quicker and more consistently you gather and post reviews and testimonials, the more likely motivated sellers and other partners will be to view you as trustworthy, honest, and credible… and choose you over the competition.